Crying is not “Cry it Out”

Let’s be honest. Sleep training has a bad rep. So many parents are worried that sleep training will cause long-term negative effects on their child- these are valid fears, especially with the dreaded “cry it out” program. However, as a sleep consultant, I can assure you that crying does not mean crying it out- they are two very different things!

Cry it out can be traced back to 1894 in a book entitled, The Care and Feeding of Children written by Emmett Holt. Then, Dr. Richard Ferber’s book made the cry-it-out method popular in the 1980s. I don’t know about you, but I am not about listening to men who did their research before the 2000s happened…. That being said, any form of sleep training is likely to produce tears and crying, but that doesn’t mean they are crying it out. Crying is your child’s natural way of expressing themself when they do not yet have the availability of words.

“Crying -it-out” is leaving your child alone and unattended for long periods of time and expecting them to eventually stop crying. I do not find that developmentally appropriate for a child of any age. You have worked on creating a secure attachment to your child. You have showed them that when they cry, or call for you, you will come. Taking that away completely will be confusing and unsettling for your child. During Tiny Duck Parenting’s Week to Sleep program, you will be with your child every step of the way. When there is crying, you will respond with clear and consistent action that your child will be able to predict. This eventually leads to your child choosing to stay in their room and in their bed, because the unpredictability around bedtime and sleep is gone. As the parent, you help regulate your child’s nervous system, as theirs is not yet fully developed. This comes into play when you sleep train. Your child will likely go through many different emotions, and as the parent, it is your job to stay relaxed, grounded, and calm. By keeping your emotions regulated, your child will be able to sense there is nothing to be afraid of, and they will start gaining the confidence to sleep on their own.

As you consider sleep training, I urge you to consider the entire picture. Will there be tears and emotions the first night or two? Yes. However, if your entire family dreads bedtime and it is a struggle each night to get your child to fall asleep, and you are about to lose your mind because you are exhausted and can get nothing done- is it not better for your entire family to work through some emotions for a few nights, and then have bedtime and sleep be easy? Sleep training does not have to be a long and exhausting process. It does not have to be a negative experience. I often hear from clients that each morning their child is waking up happy and ready to take on the day. A lot of the time the child is filled with confidence and excitement over their new skill, cheering for themself and saying “I am so proud of me!” That confidence is what makes it all worth it. That confidence mixed with a well-rested child who has a well-rested parent is a winning combo for success!

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About The Author

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Jennie is a certified sleep consultant with a background in Child and Adolescent Studies who specializes in teaching toddlers and children to choose to stay in their open bed, fall asleep independently, and sleep through the night. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Child and Adolescent Studies, and spending time in the classroom, she decided to follow her passion and move to New York City to become a professional theatre actress. Between shows, she worked as a nanny. One family had a toddler that couldn’t fall asleep without help, he refused to nap and would wake-up multiple times a night. Frustrated by the lack of resources for toddler sleep issues she became a certified sleep consultant. Relying on her education and experience, she then created Week to Sleep geared for toddlers in an open bed.

Jennie has helped so many families across the country make bedtime easy and enjoyable. She has been featured on Mommy Mingle, Parentville, corporate Google, and buybuybaby. Jennie’s favorite part of working with families is when a toddler runs to their parents in the morning exclaiming, “I did it, I am SO proud of me!